Tropical Rain Forest Ecology, Diversity, and Conservation

ISBN : 9780199285884

Jaboury Ghazoul; Douglas Sheil
536 Pages
190 x 247 mm
Pub date
May 2010
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Rain forests represent the world's richest repository of terrestrial biodiversity, and play a major role in regulating the global climate. They support the livelihoods of a substantial proportion of the world's population and are the source of many internationally traded commodities. They remain (despite decades of conservation attention) increasingly vulnerable to degradation and clearance, with profound though often uncertain future costs to global society. Understanding the ecology of these diverse biomes, and peoples' dependencies on them, is fundamental to their future management and conservation. Tropical Rain Forest Ecology, Diversity, and Conservation introduces and explores what rain forests are, how they arose, what they contain, how they function, and how humans use and impact them. The book starts by introducing the variety of rain forest plants, fungi, microorganisms, and animals, emphasising the spectacular diversity that is the motivation for their conservation. The central chapters describe the origins of rain forest communities, the variety of rain forest formations, and their ecology and dynamics. The challenge of explaining the species richness of rain forest communities lies at the heart of ecological theory, and forms a common theme throughout. The book's final section considers historical and current interactions of humans and rain forests. It explores biodiversity conservation as well as livelihood security for the many communities that are dependent on rain forests - inextricable issues that represent urgent priorities for scientists, conservationists, and policy makers.


1. Tropical Rain Forests: Myths and Inspirations
2. An Exuberance of Plant Life
3. The Great Unseen: Fungi and Microorganisms
4. More than Monkeys: the Vertebrates
5. The Little Things: Invertebrates
6. From the Beginning: Origins and Transformation
7. Many Rain Forests: Formations and Ecotones
8. So Many Species, so Many Theories
9. Processes and Cycles
10. Plant Form and Function: What it Takes to Survive
11. The Ever Changing Forest: Disturbance and Dynamics
12. The Bloomin' Rainforests: How Flowering Plants Reproduce
13. Nature's Society: Life's Interactions
14. Forests in the Anthropocene
15. People of the Forest: Livelihoods and Welfare
16. Biodiversity in a Changing World
17. A Matter for Scientists and Society: Conserving Forested Landscapes
18. Requiem or Revival

About the author: 

Jaboury Ghazoul's first encounter with tropical rain forests in 1993 was a prolonged one, spending one year living rough in the forests of Vietnam where his scientific subjects were disturbingly close. It was during this year that he learnt to distinguish the sound of a chainsaw from the call of a cicada. Imbued with such knowledge and confidence, he began to study the reproductive ecology of plants in the context of land use change, working in Thailand and Costa Rica, employed by the Center for International Forestry Research and the Natural History Museum, London. Since joining Imperial College London in 1998, and ETH Zurich from 2005, he has expanded his research interests to encompass a variety of issues relating to tropical plant ecology, genetics and conservation. He generally selects nice places to work, and is thus currently engaged in research in India, Malaysia and the Seychelles. ; Douglas Sheil spent the first three years of his life in Nigeria. He returned to the tropics several times as a Natural Sciences student in Cambridge, before gaining a Masters Degree in Forestry and its relation to Land use from Oxford in 1989. He worked in East Africa for two years before returning to Oxford to complete his doctorate examining long-term dynamics of Ugandan rainforests in 1996. From 1998 to 2008 he worked for the Center for International Forest Research in Indonesia - where he was for a time the only staff ecologist. His work has taken him to all the main rain forest regions of the World. He is now director of the Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation (ITFC), a field station under the Mbarara University of Science and Technology, located in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, in South West Uganda - a site famed for its mountain gorillas. His publications have covered a wide range of tropical forest topics. Current research includes ecology, conservation and human needs.

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